O's slow Rays' push for wild card with late-inning rally

BALTIMORE -- The Tampa Bay Rays got a double dose of disappointment at Camden Yards.

Blowing a late lead in a 4-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday night was tough to take. Watching the scoreboard and seeing Boston pull away from Toronto made it even worse.

Tampa Bay led 2-1 in the sixth inning, but Baltimore tied it in the seventh and took control when Matt Wieters hit a two-run homer off J.P. Howell in the eighth.

Evan Longoria homered for the Rays, whose five-game winning streak ended. The loss dropped Tampa Bay four games behind the Red Sox in the AL wild-card race.

"Not one of our better offensive nights," manager Joe Maddon said. "They just got us in the end."

During the game, Maddon and the players watched the progress of the Boston-Toronto contest on the right-field scoreboard.

"You can't help it in Baltimore because the scoreboard's right in your face," Maddon said. "Anyone that tells you they're not is not telling you the truth."

Toronto had an early lead, but Boston went ahead for good in the fourth and rolled to an 18-6 win.

"Obviously we peek at it, but our main focus is trying to win that ballgame," Tampa Bay center fielder B.J. Upton said. "What they do is out of our control."

With the score 2-all, Howell (2-3) retired the first two batters in the eighth before Vladimir Guerrero singled. Adam Jones entered as a pinch runner and Howell threw over to first base five times -- including three in a row -- before serving up a 1-1 pitch that Wieters drove into the left-field seats.

"A stupid pitch," Howell said. "You get sick. Nothing goes through your mind. You go blank. It's disgusting."

Troy Patton (1-1) retired all three batters he faced before Jim Johnson got the final out for his fifth save. It was Patton's first major league win.

Both starters pitched brilliantly but did not receive a decision.

Tampa Bay's David Price allowed two runs, one earned, and four hits in 6 2/3 innings. He is 0-2 against the Orioles, the only team to beat him twice this year.

Alfredo Simon was just as good. The right-hander gave up two runs and six hits over seven innings and had a career-high nine strikeouts, including Desmond Jennings three times.

"We like to be spoilers," Simon said. "We want to do everything we can to beat every team, so if they're in the race, so be it. We want to win every game."

So do the Rays.

"Realistically, we're not going to win the rest of our games," Maddon said. "Hopefully, we just lose a couple."

Simon retired 12 straight batters and took a 1-0 lead into the sixth. After Upton drew a one-out walk and stole second, Longoria sent a 1-1 pitch over the left-field wall.

But the Orioles bounced back in the seventh. Nolan Reimold walked and stole second before pinch-hitter Jake Fox chased Price with a run-scoring double to left-center.

Baltimore got an unearned run in the first inning when J.J. Hardy doubled, and scored when shortstop Sean Rodriguez threw wildly to first base after fielding a grounder by Nick Markakis.

Tampa Bay loaded the bases with no outs in the second before Simon struck out John Jaso and got Rodriguez to hit into a double play. The Rays didn't get another runner until Upton walked in the sixth, setting the stage for Longoria's 26th home run.

After scoring in the first, the Orioles didn't get a runner to second base until the sixth. In the fifth, Robert Andino hit a liner to left that Jennings snagged on the run at the warning track.

In the sixth, Hardy reached on an infield hit and Markakis walked before Guerrero hit into a double play. Price then retired Wieters on a grounder to third.

Game notes
By stealing second base in the second inning, Tampa Bay's Johnny Damon became the ninth player in baseball history with 200 homers and 400 steals. ... Jones missed a fourth straight start with a sore right thumb. He was chosen as the Orioles' winner of the Roberto Clemente Award for his charitable work in the community. ... Tampa Bay RHP Kyle Farnsworth is out with a right elbow injury. Maddon said he thinks Farnsworth is improving and will return shortly. Joel Peralta served as the closer on Monday. ... Baltimore has scheduled RHP Jeremy Guthrie (7-17) for the final game of the three-game series Wednesday night. Guthrie leads the majors in losses. The Rays will start RHP Wade Davis (10-8).